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How to get rid of Dr. Ginger: make him run APD

By Paul Chavez

So I had this really great idea while I was sitting on the … So I had this really great idea that would accelerate the successful completion of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) for the Albuquerque Police Department.

I don’t know why anybody hasn’t thought of this before. It is so elegant in its simplicity, and once said, everyone will wonder why they didn’t think of it before.

The seed of this brilliant idea came to me when I read that Independent Monitor James Ginger can whip out a policy in 30 minutes – but it’s not his job. His job is to make millions of dollars every year off of the city.

Ginger’s deal with the city kind of reminded me of that old joke about the guy who goes to the doctor with a headache.

The doctor examines him and tells him, “You’re right. You have a headache.”

“How long will I have it?” the guy asks.

“How much insurance do you have?” the doc asks.

“About six more months’ worth,” the guy says.

“You’ll be fine in six months,” the doc says.

It’s funnier in the original Latin.

Anyway, here is the brilliant idea. First of all, I have made no secret that unlike the fine individuals who run this website, I believe that Harold Medina, if left to his own devices and free from political interference, would make a great chief and do a great job. And that’s what I think the mayor should do.

But to end this cancer called CASA, and get Ginger out of Albuquerque’s hair and get Albuquerque out of what’s left of his, let’s do the following:

Whatever the city has budgeted for the next chief of police, will become the salary for a new Independent Monitor. No, were not firing Ginger. Ginger will become the new Police Commissioner, Police Director or vested with some other civilian title, but he’ll be the new leader of APD.

James Ginger will be the envy of every police chief in the nation because he will be making $1.5 million year, more than those really big city chiefs. But he not only has to lead Albuquerque out of CASA, he has to lead the whole department every day.

He has to drag his butt out of bed at two in the morning if there is an officer involved shooting. He has to attend briefings and interact with his officers. He’s got to listen to their concerns and try to look at the world through their eyes. He has to spend time in the field and watch and listen as calls stack up, and even Priority 1 calls are held for what feels like an eternity, especially for the caller. Then he’ll wonder why 70 or 80 officers are working Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., investigating other cops instead of being out in the field taking calls for service. He’ll see that calls are holding because an officer who rolled up on a down-and-out lying in the middle of Central and applied a sternum rub to get the drunk to safety, now has to spend the next three to four hours with their sergeant and any other officer who was at the scene writing redundant reports.

He has to go to neighborhood association meetings and answer those questions of why the neighbors never see officers patrolling the neighborhood and why a citizen had to wait for four hours for officers to respond to a serious call. He’s got to make sure officers are properly equipped, review budget documents, make sure the city is getting the best deal on new police vehicles, attend city council meetings, review the mountains of paperwork he and the courts have shoved down APD’s throat, etc., etc.

That’s the hard part. CASA’s going to be a breeze. Ginger, with his speed-policy-writing prowess, will have CASA wrapped up in no time. Because he’d be on the other side of this cat- and-mouse-game, he’d know exactly what the Independent monitor wants and would be able to do every task right the first time. Currently, no one knows what’s going on in Ginger's mind. With him as head of the police department, no one will need to guess. Every CASA-related task or product coming out of APD will be perfect.

I’m sure the city would have no problem finding a retired judge, a retired ACLU lawyer, a retired hippie – anyone with a jaundiced eye towards the police, who would be happy to take on the job as Independent Monitor for $150,000 - $160,000 a year.

What’s the cost to the city? Nothing more than they’re already paying. Everything will cost the same, but in the long run, since I’m sure Ginger will want to get the hell out of Albuquerque, things will be quickly wrapped up saving the city millions. He can move on and APD can redeploy those 70 or 80 officers that are tied up investigating other cops and put them back out on the street where they belong.

That’s my idea. If there was a Nobel Prize given for great police ideas, this would win.

I better go order a tux.


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